Alula Beach

Alula Beach – Where to Watch Sea Turtles While Snorkeling the Day Away
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you want to watch sea turtles in their natural habitat, go on swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving adventures at Alula Beach. Located near the Honokohau Harbor, this beach is just a small crescent of land with a whole lot to offer. No lifeguards are on duty at any time, but its waters are fairly calm due to its natural rock outcropping.  

- The Local Expert Team

Have you always wanted to swim with the sea turtles while enjoying a fun day on the beach? If so, get on over to Alula Beach for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving adventures to remember. Set right by the Honokohau Harbor, this beach serves as a great place to get away from the crowds. Tourists do not land here very often, after all, making it a local favorite through and through.

To get to the beach, you’ll need to travel down Queen Kaahumanu Highway to mile marker 98. Once you get there, look for the small parking lot along the western side of the highway. Be sure to take all your belongings out of your car before you lock it up tight. Then, start heading down the trail to slowly make it to the water’s edge.

The trail travels through the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, treating you to cultural artifacts all along the way. Old stone houses sit nearby and there’s even an ancient Hawaiian temple, or heiau, near the beach. At the end of the trail, you’ll find a patch of rough lava rocks, so make sure you’re wearing water shoes with a good grip. After you make it past the rocks, you’ll land on the small crescent of sand that makes up this cute beach.

The water around the edge of the beach stays shallow quite a ways out. Near the far side of the beach, you’ll find a rock wall plunging about 45 feet deep, however. The rocky outcropping keeps the waves from hitting the shores and serves as a sheltered area for tropical fish, sea turtles, and other marine life. For that reason, many beginners to advanced snorkelers come by to take a peek beneath the waves. The area makes for great scuba diving, too, and even attracts kayakers to its midst.

Fun things to do here:

Many locals bring their families to this beach to splash in the waves near the shore. The shallow waters are great for little ones who like to wade knee-deep. Since there are no lifeguards on duty, consider putting all kids in life jackets while they play near the water.

Snorkeling is almost always a rewarding experience at this beach. Sea turtles swim through the waters more often than not. Plus, the rock wall offers shelter to tropical fish, eels, and many other wonderful marine creatures.

Scuba Dive
If you want to explore even deeper beneath the waves, switch your snorkel mask for scuba gear. You can then go up to 45 feet down and kick along the bottom of the ocean. All along the way, you’ll get to see all the marine creatures up close and even take photos if you have an underwater camera.

While visiting this beach, keep in mind that it does not have any facilities set up. That means you won’t find any restrooms, showers, picnic tables, or even trash cans. You can walk over to the marina and use the public restrooms there if you wish. There are no lifeguards on duty at any time either. The park is reasonably close to the roadway in case you need to call for help.

Insider Tips:
-Leave all your valuables in your hotel safe, not in your car. Thieves prowl public beach parking lots in hopes of striking it rich.
-Bring a trash bag, so you can pack out whatever you bring with you. Look for other trash along the beach as well to serve as a good steward of the land.
-Thanks to the rock wall, you do not have to watch for big waves even in the winter months. Just be sure to check the weather to avoid stormy conditions.
-Remember to stay at least 10 feet away from the sea turtles since they’re a protected species.